Nova Scotia

Fall River woman gets Mexican obesity surgery

An overweight Fall River woman who made a public cry for help five months ago says she's doing much better after having weight loss surgery in Mexico.

She wrote her own obituary in July

An overweight Fall River woman who made a public cry for help five months ago is doing much better after having weight loss surgery in Mexico.

Lillian Coakley, 42, wrote her own obituary in July because she thought she would die before getting near the top of a long wait list for weight loss surgery in Nova Scotia.

Since then, Coakley has been working with a personal trainer, and last month she went to Mexico where she had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy.

The procedure reduces the size of the stomach to about 25 per cent by surgically removing a large portion of the stomach.

Coakley said she has lost 52 pounds and is feeling much better. She weighed 372 pounds before the surgery and exercise regime.

"I'm more energetic. I can sprint over to the Sobeys and back and not even break a wind or breath," she said Wednesday.

"I'm noticing not a lot of pounds dropped, but a lot of inches. Pants that I could barely get up over my knees are now fitting me and are actually kind of loose."

Coakley said if she had not gone to Mexico, she would be looking at a 10-year wait for bariatric surgery — operations that remove a large part of the stomach or reduce the size of the stomach by placing a band around part of it.

Between 60 and 80 weight loss surgeries are performed each year in Halifax, but the waiting list is about 2,000 people long.

now